The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.
See also E-mail
The Internet is a large group of computers that are connected to each other, used to send information quickly between computers around the world. It has millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks, which together carry lots of different information and services, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.
History: The Internet was created in the United States in 1969 by the "United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency" (known as ARPA). The World Wide Web was created at CERN in Switzerland in the 1990s by a British (UK) man named Tim Berners-Lee.
Today, people can pay a fee to access the Internet from Internet Service Providers. Some services on the Internet cost nothing to use. Sometimes the people who offer these free services use advertising to make money from them. The alternative name, "Net" came from "inter(net)".
Services on the Internet: The Internet is used for many things, such as electronic mail (e-mail), online chat, and the World Wide Web.
The most used service on the Internet is the World Wide Web (which is also called the "Web"). The Web contains websites, blogs, and also wikis - including Wikipedia. Webpages on the Web can be seen and read by anyone (unless the page needs a password, or it is blocked).
The second major use of the Internet is to send and receive e-mail. E-mail is private and goes from one user to another. Instant messaging (such as AIM or ICQ) is similar to email, but allows two or more people to chat to each other much faster.
Some governments consider the Internet to be a bad thing, and block all or part of it. For example, the Chinese government thinks that Wikipedia is bad, so often no one in China can read it or add to it. Some parents block parts of the Internet they think are bad for children to see. Well-known examples of the whole Internet being blocked are in North Korea and Myanmar.
Dangers on the Internet: The Internet can also be a dangerous place. Information people put on the Internet is not always checked.
- Some websites may trick people into downloading viruses that can harm a computer or spyware that spies on its users (looks at what they are doing and tells someone else). E-mails can also have harmful files with them as "attachments".
- In Internet Chatrooms, people might be preying on others or trying to stalk them.
The World Wide Web ("WWW" or "The Web") is the part of the Internet that contains websites and webpages. It was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland. Sir Tim Berners-Lee created a new language called HTML. Websites are composed of pages linked by hypertext links. They are all written in HTML.
Electronic mail (or e-mail or email) is an Internet service that allows those people who have an e-mail address (accounts) to send and receive electronic letters. Those are much like postal letters, except that they are delivered much faster than snail mail when sending over long distances, and are usually free. To send or receive an email, you need a gadget (computer, phone etc) connected to the Internet and an e-mail program (simply called mailer). Several formats exist for email addresses. The most common, called RFC 2822, looks like email@example.com. E-mail messages are sent mostly by text, and sometimes by HTML style.
Topics of Interest
The Internet It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private and public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope that are linked by a broad array of electronic and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast array of information resources and services, most notably the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support electronic mail.
Most traditional communications media, such as telephone and television services, are reshaped or redefined using the technologies of the Internet, giving rise to services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and IPTV. Newspaper publishing has been reshaped into Web sites, blogging, and web feeds. The Internet has enabled or accelerated the creation of new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking sites.
The origins of the Internet reach back to the 1960s when the United States funded research projects of its military agencies to build robust, fault-tolerant and distributed computer networks. This research and a period of civilian funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation spawned worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies and led to the commercialization of an international network in the mid 1990s, and resulted in the following popularization of countless applications in virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth's population uses the services of the Internet.
The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own standards. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address space and the Domain Name System, are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely-affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.
Terminology: The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used in everyday speech without much distinction. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web are not one and the same. The Internet is a global data communications system. It is a hardware and software infrastructure that provides connectivity between computers. In contrast, the Web is one of the services communicated via the Internet. It is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. The term the Internet, when referring to the Internet, has traditionally been treated as a proper noun and written with an initial capital letter. There is a trend to regard it as a generic term or common noun and thus write it as "the internet", without the capital.
- The USSR's launch of Sputnik spurred the United States to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA or DARPA) in February 1958 to regain a technological lead. ARPA created the Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) to further the research of the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) program, which had networked country-wide radar systems together for the first time.
- After much work, the first two nodes of what would become the ARPANET were interconnected between UCLA's School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, on October 29, 1969.
- Robert Kahn developed the first description of the TCP protocols during 1973 and published a paper on the subject in May 1974. Use of the term "Internet" to describe a single global TCP/IP network originated in December 1974 with the publication of RFC 675, the first full specification of TCP that was written by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine, then at Stanford University.
- The opening of the network to commercial interests began in 1988.
- On 6 August 1991, CERN, a pan European organization for particle research, publicized the new World Wide Web project. The Web was invented by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989.
- In 1993, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois released version 1.0 of Mosaic browser
The Internet Protocol Suite (commonly known as TCP/IP) is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks. It is named from two of the most important protocols in it: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), which were the first two networking protocols defined in this standard. Today's IP networking represents a synthesis of several developments that began to evolve in the 1960s and 1970s, namely the Internet and LANs (Local Area Networks), which emerged in the mid- to late-1980s, together with the advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.
The Internet Protocol Suite, like many protocol suites, may be viewed as a set of layers. Each layer solves a set of problems involving the transmission of data, and provides a well-defined service to the upper layer protocols based on using services from some lower layers. Upper layers are logically closer to the user and deal with more abstract data, relying on lower layer protocols to translate data into forms that can eventually be physically transmitted.
The TCP/IP model consists of four layers (RFC 1122). From lowest to highest, these are the Link Layer, the Internet Layer, the Transport Layer, and the Application Layer.
The most prominent component of the Internet model is the Internet Protocol (IP) which provides addressing systems (IP addresses) for computers on the Internet. IP enables internetworking and essentially establishes the Internet itself.
Internet governance: ICANN headquarters in Marina Del Rey, California, United StatesThe Internet is a globally distributed network comprising many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body. However, to maintain interoperability, all technical and policy aspects of the underlying core infrastructure and the principal name spaces are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), headquartered in Marina del Rey, California. ICANN is the authority that coordinates the assignment of unique identifiers for use on the Internet, including domain names, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, application port numbers in the transport protocols, and many other parameters. Globally unified name spaces, in which names and numbers are uniquely assigned, are essential for the global reach of the Internet. ICANN is governed by an international board of directors drawn from across the Internet technical, business, academic, and other non-commercial communities. The US government continues to have the primary role in approving changes to the DNS root zone that lies at the heart of the domain name system. ICANN's role in coordinating the assignment of unique identifiers distinguishes it as perhaps the only central coordinating body on the global Internet. On November 16, 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis, established the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to discuss Internet-related issues.
Information: The World Wide Web is a global set of documents, images and other resources, logically interrelated by hyperlinks and referenced with Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). URIs allow providers to symbolically identify services and clients to locate and address web servers, file servers, and other databases that store documents and provide resources and access them using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the primary carrier protocol of the Web. HTTP is only one of the hundreds of communication protocols used on the Internet. Web services may also use HTTP to allow software systems to communicate in order to share and exchange business logic and data.
World Wide Web browser software, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome, let users navigate from one web page to another via hyperlinks embedded in the documents. These documents may also contain any combination of computer data, including graphics, sounds, text, video, multimedia and interactive content including games, office applications and scientific demonstrations. Through keyword-driven Internet research using search engines like Yahoo! and Google, users worldwide have easy, instant access to a vast and diverse amount of online information. Compared to printed encyclopedias and traditional libraries, the World Wide Web has enabled the decentralization of information.
Communication: E-mail is an important communications service available on the Internet. The concept of sending electronic text messages between parties in a way analogous to mailing letters or memos predates the creation of the Internet. Today it can be important to distinguish between internet and internal e-mail systems. Internet e-mail may travel and be stored unencrypted on many other networks and machines out of both the sender's and the recipient's control. During this time it is quite possible for the content to be read and even tampered with by third parties, if anyone considers it important enough. Purely internal or intranet mail systems, where the information never leaves the corporate or organization's network, are much more secure, although in any organization there will be IT and other personnel whose job may involve monitoring, and occasionally accessing, the e-mail of other employees not addressed to them. Pictures, documents and other files can be sent as e-mail attachments. E-mails can be cc-ed to multiple e-mail addresses.
Data transfer: File sharing is an example of transferring large amounts of data across the Internet. A computer file can be e-mailed to customers, colleagues and friends as an attachment. It can be uploaded to a website or FTP server for easy download by others. It can be put into a "shared location" or onto a file server for instant use by colleagues. The load of bulk downloads to many users can be eased by the use of "mirror" servers or peer-to-peer networks. In any of these cases, access to the file may be controlled by user authentication, the transit of the file over the Internet may be obscured by encryption, and money may change hands for access to the file. The price can be paid by the remote charging of funds from, for example, a credit card whose details are also passed—usually fully encrypted—across the Internet.
Accessibility: The prevalent language for communication on the Internet is English. This may be a result of the origin of the Internet, as well as English's role as a lingua franca. It may also be related to the poor capability of early computers, largely originating in the United States, to handle characters other than those in the English variant of the Latin alphabet. After English (29% of Web visitors) the most requested languages on the World Wide Web are Chinese (22%), Spanish (8%), Japanese (6%), French (5%), Portuguese and German (4% each), Arabic (3%) and Russian and Korean (2% each). By region, 42% of the world's Internet users are based in Asia, 24% in Europe, 15% in North America, 11% in Latin America and the Caribbean taken together, 4% in Africa, 3% in the Middle East and 1% in Australia/Oceania. The Internet's technologies have developed enough in recent years, especially in the use of Unicode, that good facilities are available for development and communication in most widely used languages. However, some glitches such as mojibake (incorrect display of foreign language characters, also known as kryakozyabry) still remain.
Common methods of Internet access in homes include dial-up, landline broadband (over coaxial cable, fiber optic or copper wires), Wi-Fi, satellite and 3G technology cell phones. Public places to use the Internet include libraries and Internet cafes, where computers with Internet connections are available. There are also Internet access points in many public places such as airport halls and coffee shops, in some cases just for brief use while standing. Various terms are used, such as "public Internet kiosk", "public access terminal", and "Web payphone". Many hotels now also have public terminals, though these are usually fee-based. These terminals are widely accessed for various usage like ticket booking, bank deposit, online payment etc. Wi-Fi provides wireless access to computer networks, and therefore can do so to the Internet itself. Hotspots providing such access include Wi-Fi cafes, where would-be users need to bring their own wireless-enabled devices such as a laptop or PDA. These services may be free to all, free to customers only, or fee-based. A hotspot need not be limited to a confined location. A whole campus or park, or even an entire city can be enabled. Grassroots efforts have led to wireless community networks. Commercial Wi-Fi services covering large city areas are in place in London, Vienna, Toronto, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and Pittsburgh. The Internet can then be accessed from such places as a park bench. Apart from Wi-Fi, there have been experiments with proprietary mobile wireless networks like Ricochet, various high-speed data services over cellular phone networks, and fixed wireless services. High-end mobile phones such as smartphones generally come with Internet access through the phone network. Web browsers such as Opera are available on these advanced handsets, which can also run a wide variety of other Internet software. More mobile phones have Internet access than PCs, though this is not as widely used. An Internet access provider and protocol matrix differentiates the methods used to get online.
The sociology of the Internet involves the application of sociological theory and method to the Internet as a source of information and communication. Sociologists are concerned with the social implications of the technology; new social networks, virtual communities and ways of interaction that have arisen.
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